What I Learned About Money from Undercover Boss

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted on a Monday, so I thought it was about time to get out of my writer’s block rut and just gosh darn write something!

Although lots of big things are happening in my life, namely getting ready to start house hunting, I just haven’t been feeling really motivated to write anything. Whenever I sit down, crack my knuckles and start to type something, my mind just goes blank.

That is…until this weekend. Full disclosure, I spent most of my weekend on the couch recuperating from the start of Christmas party season. Because of that, I watched probably a full season’s worth of Undercover Boss.

No judging, I honestly couldn’t mentally digest anything other than a mindless reality show. Any who, I got kind of hooked. Yes, I know it’s edited, and they probably only cast nice people with tragic stories, but I can’t deny that it got to me.

Besides all the tug-your-at-your-heartstrings stories all the employees shared on the show (so far my favourite is the Johnny Rockets food runner who used to be homeless and went to prison for 3 years because he assaulted the guy who killed is daughter), the show is really all about money.

In a nutshell, the boss of a mega-corporation wants to know what’s happening on the front lines so he can learn how to make the business more profitable. But on the other side of it, all of the employees featured on the show who are working those minimum wage front line jobs are working there because of personal finance issues.

They’re in debt, they never got a higher education, or they’re a single parent struggling to provide for their families. If there’s ever a better show to motivate you to pay down your debt (or avoid getting into debt in the first place), go to college, or wait to have kids, it’s this show.

I honestly really felt for lots of those employees. I worked a lot of those crappy front line jobs too when I was younger. My first job ever was as a cashier at A&W, and man that job was hard! Sure, not rocket science hard, but it was stressful, it was greasy, and the pay was impossible to live off of.

When I first started, I was only making $6 an hour! Luckily, I was still in high school and had no expenses, but all of the full-timers I worked with couldn’t have made more than $10 an hour. And a lot of them had sad stories too. I still remember working the day shift with this one woman, she couldn’t have been more than 30 at the time.

She told me that she used to be a nurse in the Philippines. Unfortunately, when she moved to Canada, she was forced to redo all of her nursing training because the government wouldn’t recognize her education. So, she had to work full-time as a cook at A&W while going to school at night, and somehow afford tuition and living expenses on minimum wage at the same time.

Sure, I worked the same crappy job as her, but the difference was that I didn’t need mine to survive. I needed it to help me save up for university, but I always knew it was a temporary thing and I could quit anytime if I really wanted to.

Basically, it got me thinking how really privileged I am, even though I rarely think of myself like that. I worked hard to get where I am, but others work just as hard (if not harder) and are never able to move up from where they are because of their financial circumstances.

I guess what Undercover Boss taught me was that I’m really, really lucky and not to screw it up. Even though I’ve made some big strides financially and career-wise, and I need to keep going. I’m going to keep educating myself so I can get better at my job and I’m going to really focus on achieving my savings goals. I might even make a big investment in a property, who knows!

Have you ever seen Undercover Boss? Did it ever make you think about your financial situation?

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